I’ve always loved fruitcake. I know a lot of people can’t stand it, and I don’t blame them if all they’ve ever encountered is the dry, store-bought variety with that neon-coloured “candied” fruit. However, I think this cake would convert many a staunch fruitcake-phobe. Although not cheap if you buy the right ingredients, it is absolutely worth every single pazoozle! Be aware that there is a step that must be done about a week-and-a-half before baking...and that this is a bit of a "boozy" fruitcake!
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE VEGAN HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE
-makes 3 x 1-lb loaves
Cake with marzipan "icing".
Rich, moist goodness!
*Prior preparation (see below):
1 mickey of whisky (375 ml – I used Forty Creek) plus ½ cup dark rum
3 cups mixed unsweetened dried fruit (I used tart cherries, organic chopped apricots, currents and cranberries - a really great combo)
Grated (or finely minced) rind of one lemon and one orange
1 Vanilla Chai teabag
First bowl (medium bowl; dry ingredients):
3 cups organic whole grain flour
3 T coconut sugar
1.5 t baking powder
3/8 t salt
Pureed in processor then placed in a large bowl:
250 g. pressed dates, warmed so that they are very pliable (microwave)
2 T frozen unsweetened concentrated orange juice
1/3 c molasses
6 T unsweetened applesauce
6T canola oil
3 t pure vanilla extract
Rind and tea mixture from above
Drained whisky from soaked fruit
A bit of water if necessary to make a thick puree
3 cups of dried fruit prepared ahead of time (see above)
1 c slivered almonds
½ c raw pumpkin seeds
* Prior preparation:
1. (about 1.5 weeks prior to baking):
-soak 3 cups of mixed dried unsweetened fruit (tart cherries, organic chopped apricots, currents and cranberries) in ¾ mickey of whisky in fridge. Shake often.
2. (30 minutes prior to baking): boil the grated (or finely minced) rinds of one lemon and one orange (organic) in about ¾ c. of water with one Vanilla Chai teabag for about ten minutes or so. This takes the inherent bitterness out of the rind and adds some nice spices. Let cool slightly and squeeze out teabag well into the rind. Discard teabag.
Scrub hands very well (you will be using them as a mixing tool!)
Line three 1- lb. loaf pans with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Add contents of first bowl (dry ingredients) to large bowl (wet pureed ingredients) in smallish increments. Mix well by kneading (squishing!) with hands. This is the absolute best way to mix as you have a lot of control over the mixture. When all of the dry has been added, add in the fruit/nut mixture and again mix well with hands. The dough will be very, very thick. Press into prepared pans and bake for about 45-50 minutes. A toothpick will not necessarily come out clean as this is a very rich, moist cake. When baking has finished, cool cakes slightly in pans, then puncture all over with a fork. Slowly pour the rest of the mickey of whisky and 1/3 cup dark rum evenly over the three cakes and let soak in. Complete cooling and turn out on rack.
THE MARZIPAN “ICING”!
Just wait until you try this incredibly simple golden marzipan. It’s so good it may not make it to the top of the cake! It has only three ingredients:
1 ¼ c ground almonds (also called almond flour)
¼ c agave syrup
1 t pure almond flavouring
Mix it all up with your hands. It should be the consistency of playdough. Roll out between two layers of waxed paper, cut to fit and lay on top of each cake, pressing slightly to adhere. Decorate as desired.
Wrap finished cakes well, bag and keep in fridge (or freeze one for future use). They won’t last long as they will be gobbled up quickly!